Sunday, 17 January 2016

Colchester Detectorist in Denial

Metal detectorist Stuart Elton says nearly every field in Essex hides some kind of Roman artefact  In this photo, he looks a bit like "Terry" in the comedy series Detectorists. 
The BBC text "The best places in England for unearthing lost treasure" 17th January 2016 features the usual stereotypical quotes parroted by metal detectorists:
"Some people do it to get rich," says Essex detectorist Stuart Elton, "though they are usually the people who have just bought a detector. "I do it for the history," he says. "I think that is why most of us do it." His preferred term for what he does is "dry land fishing". Or "walking with a purpose".
You can walk parish boundaries and count hedgerow species for history. What Mr Elton (StuE on the forums) and his mates is doing is pocketing various bits of potential archaeological evidence for personal entertainment and profit. He is a collector, not an historian.

If sixteen thousand detectorists find in excess of 1000 treasure items a year, it means the odds of getting rich  by these means are far better than taking part in the lottery and a few other 'get rich quick' schemes. 

Mr Elton ("lead seal guru") is in the 'Colchester Metal Detecting Club' which would be a successor to the one on Barrack Lane which I would visit all those years ago when I saw a point in helping document what they are pulling out of the ground. They soon disabused me of that idea buy supplying false findspots which led to a lot of futile trips to draughty farmhouses and muddy fields in the winter.  My attitudes towards the whole milieu owe a lot to past Colchester metal detectorists.

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